Pay Attention — Quotidian — 007

(Transcript of video originally posted 07 Jan 2021)

About 25 years ago, a psychology experiment was conducted, at a college. They called for a few volunteers, asked for the answer to this. Let us watch that short video.

Count how many times the players wearing white pass the basketball. They are going to pass a basketball around, you have to count only those who are wearing white. Not those wearing black. Don’t miss. Count correctly please. Only white dresses. Usually, people get their answers are 13 or 14. And, 15 is the right answer. But, the problem here is not “How many”, but “Did you see the gorilla”!! As we are counting, without us being conscious about it (I am not sure if you noticed it!.. I tried it with a couple of folks at my home, and they missed the gorilla!).. A gorilla walks from this side to that. Did you notice it at all?

They explained why this phenomenon was prevalent.. We miss a lot of what goes on around us. We simply ignore them. Don’t give it too much importance. And…, it doesn’t sink into us that we are actually guilty of missing so many things so many times. They gave it a name. Inattentional Blindness. Blind. Blind because they are inattentive. Like you have lost your eyesight.

There was a movie — Sherlock Holmes — about 15 years ago. Watch this scene from that movie. Afraid that Sherlock Holmes died, Watson is writing a book, typing the “The End” on the book. There is a gift-wrapped package nearby. He wants to ask his wife who delivered it, who it was for. Watch carefully. Pay attention. He has merged in with the chair and its pattern, till now. That is actually Sherlock! He has become part of the background! Wanting to mock Watson’s ending line “The End”, he adds a playful question mark to it, at the end! Sherlock Holmes is actually famous for one of his quotes:- The art of disguise is knowing how to hide in plain sight. To be invisible while being plainly visible to everybody.. It is not about masquerading yourself as someone else or something else. Anybody can do that. But, to be visible, like a common man, and to still be invisible in the real sense, that requires real skill.

I am sure you remember this movie — Finding Nemo. This is a sea-fish, a beautiful species called Clown Fish. This meets a fish from the aquarium, the Angel Fish, and strikes up a conversation, wanting to locate and save its child.

If they had really talked, one could wonder what the conversation could have been like. The Clown Fish (Nemo’s Dad) would have asked:- “How’s the water?” — How is the water in this aquarium, is it dirty, is it salty, etc. And, the response from the Angel Fish? — What’s Water??? That would have been the return question! Because, if you think about it, at least the Clown Fish has travelled the world.. But, the Angel Fish, .. almost right from birth all the way to death, it sees nothing except the four glass walls of the aquarium. It lives inside it. It breathes… It survives. It thrives. It lives only there. It knows of nothing else but water. It knows of no life without water. Do you know the smell of air? You don’t know how to smell air because air is everywhere and you smell it all the time.

We saw three stories. Plato once said:- There are many ways one can be cheated. Sherlock did it in plain sight. The folks in the college experiment, they cheated us by distracting us with a gorilla. The Angel Fish companion of Nemo’s Dad? It gets cheated because it is surrounded by the same thing all around. But, the worst of all deceptions…, the most shameful of them all?… is when you cheat yourself! …deceive yourself! We are going to look at a story about this tomorrow. And, this is the clue I am going to leave you with. Guns. Facing each other. Aiming at each other. Let’s listen to it tomorrow! Thank you!

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